US firm Dana buys into Ashok Leyland’s electric commercial vehicle unit

 US firm Dana buys into Ashok Leyland’s electric commercial vehicle unit

Dana Inc, an Ohio, US-based company that makes drivetrain and e-propulsion systems, has agreed to pick up a minority stake in the electric commercial vehicle arm of Indian truck and bus maker Ashok Leyland Ltd.

The US company will invest in the UK-based Switch Mobility Ltd as per the agreement, Dana and Ashok Leyland said.

Dana will also supply electric drivetrain components for Switch Mobility’s electric bus and EV commercial vehicles, providing axles, gearboxes, motors, inverters, software and controls, and electronics cooling.

Neither Dana nor Ashok Leyland, part of the diversified Hinduja Group, disclosed any financial details of the transaction.

The agreement comes a day after top Ashok Leyland executives said the company plans to invest $150-200 million in Switch Mobility over the next few years to develop new EVs and expand its manufacturing capabilities.

Leeds, UK-based Switch Mobility was previously known as Optare and was rebranded last year. The company introduced the first British-built electric buses in London in 2014. Since then, it has put 280 EVs on the road.

New York Stock Exchange-listed Dana was founded in 1904. The company reported sales of $7.1 billion in 2020 with 38,000 employees in 33 countries.

Apart from Ashok Leyland, a number of Indian automakers are developing electric vehicles. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, India’s biggest maker of tractors and sport-utility vehicles, has invested in Israeli EV company REE Automotive.

Several two-wheeler makers in India are also developing and manufacturing EVs. These include Hero Electric, which raised funding from Dubai-based Gulf Islamic Investments earlier this month.

Other such companies include Ather Energy and Revolt. While Ather is backed by the Pawan Munjal-owned Hero MotoCorp, and Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, Revolt got Rs 150 crore in April from RattanIndia Enterprises Ltd. Cab aggregator Ola is also foraying into the segment and is setting up an electric scooter factory in Tamil Nadu.

Sumit Upadhyaya

The Capital Quest